Former Dallas Cowboy and Washington Redskins NFL Players Join the Real-Life Hunger Games

In one of the "Hunger Games" films, there is a scene between a little sister and her big sister that is very thought provoking.

Prim: Since the last games something's different; I can see it.
Katniss: What can you see?
Prim: Hope.

People all across the world are preparing to watch the newest release of the popular "Hunger Games" movie series this week. Most of these people have read the books by which the films are based, watched the movies and I giggle at the online quizzes one can take to find out which character they would be in the films. As the "The Hunger Games" phenomenon sweeps the country, what happens when Hollywood meets reality? What happens when we realize the title, "The Hunger Games," really isn't what it is? As you read this article, I hope you reflect on the movie and also understand that the reality is that hunger is NOT a game.

In "The Hunger Games," one of my favorite quotes is, "The walls separate us, but they also protect us." For the past seven years, I have looked into the eyes of mothers, fathers and their children who are separated by the walls of hunger. They come to my charity, Minnie's Food Pantry in a suburb of Dallas, for something as simple as a large, cardboard box filled with food for them to prepare their next nutritious meal. Minnie's has given away more than 3.4 million meals since it was founded. I've learned over the years that there is no stereotypical person who is without food and wondering where their next meal will come from. I've seen their desperate faces and wiped away their tears. I've held them in my arms, heard their stories, played with their children and have seen the face of hunger far more times that I would ever wish. I know that what I am required to do is to be their voice, to save the hungry in the community that I love, one child and one adult at a time, from hunger. These people are just like you and me, but with the exception that they will sleep outside in any weather conditions through the night before a food giveaway, not to receive a XBOX, gaming system or the latest "hot" holiday gift, but to receive a Thanksgiving holiday meal for their family to prepare on Thanksgiving Day. A meal that will, for one day, make them not the exception. For that one day, because they came to Minnie's, they have a meal provided by volunteers who treated them with dignity and truly served them. We giveaway food with a smile, a hug, a prayer and so much more. They will have the typical food we enjoy on Thanksgiving Day, but beyond that it is a day-to-day struggle for most of the families that Minnie's serves each week. Who will save them?

What happens when the process is bigger than me? That's when your voice gets louder and your prayer is that someone will hear you. Today, I ask that you turn your weapons and attention to hunger. I ask that you understand that together we can conquer this epidemic. The real "hunger games" bring change when former Dallas Cowboy and NFL Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett and current Washington Redskin Keenan Robinson join forces and say enough is enough. For the fifth year in a row, the Dorsett family will help tackle hunger one person at a time. Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett will walk Minnie's Thanksgiving line of our special guests we serve on the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving Day, and bring genuine, precious smiles to the faces of worried mothers, fathers, and family members, and that is a priceless gift of hope to the hungry. Although he's unable to join our team of dedicated volunteers this Saturday, Washington Redskin Keenan Robinson, who is a Texan, has made a large donation to help provide complete Thanksgiving meals. I asked Keenan why he chose to donate to Minnie's Food Pantry and he said, "It's important to give back to the community. I had a dream that one day I would make it big and when I did, I didn't want to forget where I came from."

So, as we watch the movie, "The Hunger Games," and we eat our own turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day, will you join me in the real discussion of hunger? Hunger is not a game in our nation. In this week leading up to Thanksgiving, Minnie's has provided more than 2,500 meals. Let's talk about how we can all play a role in the real life drama of fighting hunger. Let's have a genuine public dialogue about how our collective voices are great and can bring about real change. Let's join Mr. Dorsett and Mr. Robinson in declaring that enough is enough so that no one goes hungry. I'm reminded of another line of dialogue in "The Hunger Games," which resonated with me. "We got one shot, let's make it count because our lives were never ours." In helping the hungry, we begin to view the world as so much bigger than our own lives.

So, it's important that I end with the same words in which I began:

In the film, "The Hunger Games," there is a scene between the little sister and her big sister that is very thought provoking --
Prim: Since the last games something's different; I can see it.
Katniss: What can you see?
Prim: Hope.

My acronym for the kind of hope that raises voices and prayers on behalf of the hungry to actually bring about change? Let's join together to "Help Other People Eat." Hope. I can see it.

Minnie Blessings,
Dr. Cheryl Jackson
Minnie's Food Pantry
www.minniesfoodpantry.org

If you have ever experienced hunger like me, please share this article and your comments below. Also visit my website www.minniesfoodpantry.org to learn more about the hunger epidemic.